What women's rights look like when the two sides come together as one.
What women's rights are when women are no longer manipulated by party rhetoric.


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Finally---Republican Women Take The Reins

Cynthia Ruccia


It's called "Women on the Right Unite," and it's an initiative coming from all of the major segments of the Republican Party from the Republican National Committee to the Republican Senate and Congressional Committees on down to College Republicans . The goal is to get more women elected on the Republican side in the 2014 election cycle and beyond. The activities will include candidate recruitment, funding, and more.

I have been waiting, and not so patiently, for the Republicans to wake up to the fact that their female elected officials are fantastic (the #1 Republican in the House Rep.Cathy McMorris Rodgers to start off the list with....), and that the time has arrived for them to leverage these women with more women. I say this as a former Democrat, now proud Independent. It is critical to elect more women on both sides of the aisle, and the Republicans have been lagging behind. This "lagging" hurts not only the Republican brand, it hurts all women and all women's politics.

The Democrats have long enjoyed an advantage of having the reputation of being the party for women. Although it may have been deserved back in the 70's and the 80's a bit, and although there are more Democratic women in the U.S. Congress, the numbers hardly support the Democrat's distinction in this regard. If you have been the "party of women" for over 40 years and can't get more than 18% of your ilk elected to Congress, you hardly have anything to brag about. And some of those 18% aren't even Democrats. Oh I suppose that an argument could be made that these Republican women wouldn't have been elected had it not been for the atmosphere created by the Democrats, but it would be the weakest of arguments. No----to consider that the Dems are STILL the party of women would be to accept a standard that sets the bar too low. We deserve better than that!!!!!!!!!!!

Enter the Republicans, a party with its share of screw ups concerning women. The first screw up, imho, is that the R's don't spend enough time highlighting their amazing elected female officials. My friend T tells me that the main reason is that Republicans, in a pure ideological sense, don't believe in slicing and dicing the electorate into "interest groups or ethnic groups, etc." That is a fine philosophy as far as it goes. I mean, who wouldn't want to live in an America where your ethnic background or your gender mattered not a whit but that it was all about your abilities and the content of your character. I'd love to live in that America myself----who wouldn't?

Sadly, we not only haven't arrived at that moment, we are light years away from it. And also sadly, to have that ideal front and center has completely stalled women out on the Republican side. It has made it more than impossible for women to advance in the kind of numbers that their Democratic sisters can. And it has made it easier for the misogynists to dump on women or at the very least has made it easier to not support women. We've talked many times on this blog about the visceral, unspoken but powerful forces that prevent women from rising in proportion to their numbers. Much has been written about this topic of late and many theories are advanced as to why women in the U.S. have not advanced to the top (see links in the right column with statistics). All theories have merit, but I still believe that the U.S. is not ready to have women in charge of much because of fear------deep rooted, visceral discomfort in the whole idea. The proof is in the ridiculous amount of hypocritical push back against any women who tries to go for it. That pushback is bipartisan in nature and cloaks itself in "any woman, just not THAT woman" for starters and continues on skewering women for views that hardly produce a yawn when put forth by men.

It is critically important that BOTH parties fight to get more women elected, and I was THRILLED to see this piece on BlogHer by Sharon Day, co-Chair of the Republican National Committee which threaded the needle against the "interest group" bias on the right. She asserts that "women are not an interest group" and goes on to say that women are the majority of voters, 53%, and need better representation. WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Of course the left will continue to try to minimize the many women on the right, a stance that loses them credibility as fighters for women. If you are going to support women, you must support ALL women, not just the ones you agree with. The left has this nasty habit of going into hypocritical convulsions when their own are attacked in a manner they deem as sexist, but they are quite capable of returning the sexist vitriol when the tables are turned. Hypocrisy is an extremely unattractive trait, but worse, it is divisive. and as long as women are divided, we will continue to fight each other to the death and remain on the bottom for female representation in government. A new way must be found.

Lastly, it is critical for the Republicans to make the case as to why their brand is actually good for women. A tremendous case can be made on that score. The Republican Conference Chair in the U.S. House, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has made a fine argument to that effect. And get a glimpse of some of these wonderful women on the Republican side! Whether you agree with them or not, these women deserve respect for their accomplishments. But more importantly, we need wonderful women ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE in numbers proportional to us. You may be a Dem who hates R's or vice versa. But consider the idea of why the "other side" whichever that is to you must be mostly men. It is counterintuitive to the argument of equality to insist that that is so. In my mind, a more enlightened modern  feminism would be to remove our visceral distaste for putting women in power and elect lots of women on both sides. In doing so we could start living up to our promise of equality in America, a promise that is still but a distant dream.

So I am thrilled to see the Republicans step forward with an initiative to do just that. I am cheering the whole effort on------go go go!!!!!!!

31 comments:

  1. Some of the Republican women that are in office make me want to cry.. They are like traitors to women everywhere...
    We have enough women haters... don't think we need any more. Until the Republican leaders start representing us in women's issues ,I will stick with electing the female democrats.

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    1. I am not sure what you mean by "women's issues" (argument over abortion, contraceptives?). I am a woman w/ a career (lawyer), two children, a husband, mortgage, etc., but I wouldn't categorize my issues as "women's issues," and I think (and hope) women on both sides of the isle can make our lives and our country better. I worked hard to try to get Hillary elected, and then Sarah Palin, but I don't think either party represents me 100%.

      Thanks Cynthia for another great article.

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    2. anonymous #2 (the lawyer)---you express my own sentiments precisely!!

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  2. anonymous from North Carolina----I know that you really mean what you are saying. I get it. I used to feel that way myself. But once I understood that by holding that attitude I was complicit in making sure women would NEVER advance, I changed. Women are over 50% of the population and 53% of the electorate. We hold 18% of the Congressional seats and the U.S. ranks #80 in the world for female representation in government. We have been in these pathetic rankings far too long and something must change. I know that you must want female equality as much as anyone. We can start by hoping for all women to get ahead. as much as you may disagree with the Republicans, they deserve to be represented by more women. If that happens, you might find that your attitude might shift as well.
    The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. I'm tired of banging my head against that wall, and you might be getting to that place yourself. We need to try something different if we are to continue to tell our daughters and granddaughters that they can be anything they want to be. As of today, that sentiment is just a fantasy, an aspiration. Reality doesn't bear that out in any way.
    Time for some new thinking for new results.....

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  3. Good article and I believe if women were more in the political majority they would disagree with many issues but in essence would come together as women.

    The real culprit is the nature of men -- both R and D -- reality check shows us that the Dem Boys threw Hillary under the bus -- Kennedy, Kerry, and of course Obama. But most men, and primarily US men, not only have a fear of women -- but more importantly they truly believe women do not belong in leadership positions and would rather have them stay home -- there is a ego centered quality and a control issue with US men. (all men really).

    I have a hard time with the core issues -- we are still fighting things we fought in the 70's. The basic right of equality, rights to choose, equal pay, women not being allowed to have their own voice and their own power. Look what is happening with women's issue in Ohio -- if women are still struggling as 3rd class citizen's how do we even think we can get equality in the political arena.

    We are struggling with the same issues we struggled with in the 50"s -- remember "Father Knows Best" well it is still here -- there seems to be an underlying dislike of women by men -- and we birth them, raise them and they continue to batter, rape, abuse, and want to control women. Fear yes but it goes deeper than that -- it is truly what Riane says in The Chalice and the Blade that they can not get over the fact that they can not give Birth!.

    I think every women should watch the Series Mad Men --- OMG that is exactly right in front of our eyes what men thought about and how they treated women. It actually still persists today.

    Women both R and D have to realize we have to go back to the 70's and start consciousness raising 101 again, and we better all get on the same page with this -- or our rights will continue to erode away.

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  4. I am so happy to hear Republicans state that "women are not an interest group they are the majority of voters". I am damn sick of hearing statements to the effect that if a party can't get illegal immigrants votes (maybe 11 million people), Gay votes (about 4% of voters), black votes (maybe 14%), Hispanic votes (around 15%)then they can't win. Well folks women are 53% of all voters and if you don't take our issues seriously you can't win an election. So stop trying to exempt medical services required by women from health care. Republicans can win on economic and security issues, but whether right or wrong, they are known by less sophisticated voters as the party who is against birth control and women's health.

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    1. agreed Bes----and I see this recent event as forward progress!!! Hope it catches on!!

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  5. forgive me Cynthia but another thought again.

    "You may be a Dem who hates R's or vice versa. But consider the idea of why the "other side" whichever that is to you must be mostly men

    If you are going to support women, you must support ALL women, not just the ones you agree with.

    She asserts that "women are not an interest group" and goes on to say that women are the majority of voters, 53%,"

    those quotes may be needed to elect a president Nancy Polosi, or Kathleen Sebelius, or - dare I say - President Michelle Obama.

    It is far easier to use those words then to live by them. It is my hope we can live by those words.

    that 53% HAS to include AA women, Hisp. women, liberal women and single mothers. That must be remembered to be the majority

    PS had to type fast excuse the typos :)

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    1. I sure hope Democrats don't plan to run Michelle Obama for President. She has absolutely zero experience in holding elected office or managing a government budget. Dems got by with nominating an inexperienced personality in the last two elections but as an Independent I want to see the two major parties nominate candidates with financial management experience and experience holding elected office.

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    2. 53% DOES represent all women from all backgrounds Ryan

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  6. Bes---I find it highly ironic that the same people pushing the idea of Michelle Obama for president are precisely the same folks that said they couldn't support Hillary because they didn't believe in "dynasties." Another hypocrisy from the left

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    1. And remember Hillary and Palin didn't have any international affairs experience and that was the deal killer excuse given by progressives. I mean how DARE they run for office! But Progressives would have supported women for President and Vice President, just not those two women, Oh yeah.

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  7. Great thoughts cynthia and as usual I agree fully. I am simply hoping to get across just how difficult a job it will be to unify women around one political philosophy. Though I believe it is possible; exactly how do we connect AA women with conservative principles that these women will carry. How do we reach single mothers and liberal women and convince them to vote for a conservative candidate over a liberal one in order to elect a woman president. This will be a very tough job to accomplish

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    1. well Ryan, I guess if it were easy it would have been done by now....

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    2. Well the first thing Republicans should do is stop trying to exempt various women's health needs from coverage by Obama care which is now mandatory. Forcing women to participate in a very expensive health scheme and then exempting the only medical services they need is not a show of good faith. They need to reassure themselves that women are able to individually determine what legal medical services they require without government interference. Also if you talk to young people they think the Republicans are against birth control which young folks think is very necessary but Republicans are apparently not bothered by Obama care covering Viagra. That is hypocritical. You can't win elections without attracting the votes of simple people and convoluted positions on coverage of women's health care don't sell.

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    3. Very true both parties suck relative to representing women so all the Republicans need to do is not suck, they don't have to be actually excellent to be the best party for women. It should not be THAT hard to not be awful and demeaning and that makes them instantly better than Dems. Now if Republicans actually acted like they were concerned that women citizens were having their health needs met by the mandatory government health care, wouldn't that be a positive development. At least Republicans need to stop this crap where they decide they can win 4% of extreme religious votes by denying needed health care to 53% of the voters. That is just bad math.

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  8. The unity Idea sounds and works great right up until you bring up individual names of candidate possibilities (ie Michelle Bachman, Ms. Obama etc.); then so many (too many) women retreat to their comfort zone candidates that a majority can't be established. Some women some where will have to exit those zones for the good of all women and girls.

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    1. I think that the best we have to hope for is that most women support most of the women most of the time....

      Even I can't support 100% of the women---just most of them

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  9. It would be great if this recruiting effort brought in some women who are moderates who don't think "bipartisan" is a dirty word. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' voting record is not very appealing to me--ugh!

    Amy in CA

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    1. McMorris makes a great economic case for women though....

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  10. Cynthia---Thank you so much for this important information---Hooray for the Women on the Right...Power to them.
    I pledge my allegiance their way now, because my brains aren't in my uterus, as the Dems want me to believe.
    You might say I have a point of view----not a womb with a view--ha! And I can see clearly now that the Women on the Right are waaay more in line with my philosophical/political views, and they've earned my respect.
    I don't hate Democratic women----just don't respect them.

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    1. And P.S.---Anything I say about the Dems comes from weekly experiences with them here in Texas----conversations, emails, etc. So, I'm not generalizing, or trying to be petty---But I know you know that, Cynthia! That clarification is for some of your readers.
      I try to be as nice as I can to them, but they simply HATE Republicans/Conservatives more than they love fairness and/or decorum. It pushes all of their vile buttons if you say "conservative"......I don't know what they think of conservative Democrats...and don't want to know :)

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    2. Democrats can be hard to take. They can be closeminded and intolerant. I really hope I wasn't like that when I was a Dem. but I'm afraid I probably was. Nothing worse than being "converted" from the Dems----LOL!!!!

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  11. I remember long ago when I always voted for women and there were so few of them running.
    Then I got more selective.

    For many years I gave my time, money, heart and soul to elect democratic women.
    In 2008 I realized I was wrong and it was a waste of time and money.
    I haven't seen anything to change my mind.
    Those democratic women would not support the most qualified candidate for President who happened to be a woman.

    Why didn't democratic women stand up to Obama and tell him that Larry Sommers did NOT belong in the White House with his attack that women are genetically deficient.
    NOTE Obama HAD to have Larry Sommers.

    In 2008 I attended a large democratic meeting and was met by hecklers at the door saying -- PUMA( =Party Union My Ass) to all women over 50.
    When I attended the Rally to Count the Votes for Hillary at the Democratic National Committee Rules Committee I was physically removed by a few of the men from the 100 Black Men organization who policed the event.
    It was frightening, but those were DNC's boys.
    Clearly they could not afford to count Hillary's votes.
    Everytime I hear Dems complain about voter fraud I remember that DNC meeting and the lack of democracy and vote fraud that I saw.
    So... goodbye democratic women.

    I am very happy registered Independent.

    In 2008 I think the Republicans gained a lot of Hillary voters -- and they need to run great women candidates at all levels.

    Just look at the huge increase in RAPE in the U.S. military since 2008, under Obama.
    Please see "Invisible War" about rape in the military and you will learn that it got much worse under Obama and even rape in the White House military corps. Obama gave an outrage speech -- but did NOTHING.

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  12. It was quite something what we went through in 2008 Ann!!

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  13. Cynthia---Do you feel like offering a refresher course in the form of a post, on what went onbefore and especially during the Dem Convention concerning the votes, etc..(and Dem Rules Committee.....stories like Ann's)---Alot of us may not remember the details, or weren't privvy to them and/or blocked them out..... I'd be interested in that historical perspective, if you're up to it! Thank you!!! We need to remember that history, as to why we weren't allowed to have a woman nominee for the first time in history, when we were so close!

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    1. Anita Finley's book which is listed in the right column does a better job than I could ever hope to do. If you haven't read it, you should---if you can stand the post traumatic stress

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    2. Anita's book actually reads quite well. I dreaded reading it because I didn't want to relive 2008 but was very surprised to find her book read well, in fact I couldn't put it down.

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  14. I sometimes wish I could experience for a day what puma women saw and felt in 2008. It seems obvious that something cruel and unjust happened. I also wish I could for a day experience what minorities felt in 2008 through the ups and downs of their campaign experiences. As a white male I must say that if we white males had been fair all through these years and centuries there would have been plenty of women and minority presidents by now and we would not have this competition between two admittedly deserved but never-the-less kept in the back peoples. It is sad and shameful.

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